Boise, ID dentist explains how sleep disorders affect your health
Millions of Americans suffer from sleep disorders that are dramatically impacting their health and quality of life, and many of these people don’t even know they have a treatable condition! Two sleep disorders that Dr. Sarah Enright commonly sees when she is treating patients at Horizon Dental Group in Boise, ID are obstructive sleep apnea and sleep bruxism, or clenching and grinding. Here, she explains these conditions in more detail, how sleep disorders affect your health, and what to do if you suspect that you have one.
Obstructive sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that occurs when a person’s airway becomes blocked while they sleep, which causes the person to stop breathing and, in turn, the brain and body to stop receiving oxygen. The blockage is typically due to the tongue and soft tissues collapsing against the back of the throat, which prevents proper airflow. When the brain receives a signal that there is a drop in oxygen in the blood, it sends an alarm signal to the rest of your body in the form of a boost of adrenalin, which can then cause a temporary waking accompanied by snoring, coughing, gasping, or body movement. Once the person falls back asleep, this process repeats itself – up to 300 times per night in some individuals!
Symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Waking up repeatedly throughout the night
- Feeling fatigued or like you can’t ever get a good night’s rest
- Headaches upon waking
- Brain fog
- Decreased libido
- Waking up with a dry or sore throat
While these symptoms are certainly unpleasant, the effects that sleep apnea has on your long-term health can be even worse. Sleep apnea has been linked to several serious—and even deadly—health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, high blood pressure, mood disorders, and more. Patients with sleep apnea are also more likely to be involved in work-related or motor vehicle accidents due to fatigue and sleepiness.
Another common sleep disorder that is estimated to affect nearly one in every 10 adults is sleep bruxism or clenching and grinding your teeth while you sleep. While the underlying cause of bruxism is not entirely understood, it is often linked to lifestyle issues such as stress, anxiety, consumption of caffeine or alcohol, and fatigue. It can also occur if a patient has sleep apnea or snores and treating the underlying sleep apnea can help alleviate the clenching and grinding.
Since sleep bruxism occurs while you are sleeping, you may not know if you are grinding and clenching your teeth. Common symptoms and health effects of the condition include:
- Jaw pain
- Ear pain
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder
- Excess wear and tear on teeth, which can result in severe damage to your teeth
- Disrupted sleep and fatigue
Your personalized sleep analysis
When you are suffering from a disorder such as sleep apnea or bruxism, it can prevent your body from getting the deep, restorative sleep that is truly vital for your overall health and well-being. That’s why Dr. Enright has undergone specialized training to conduct sleep analyses and provides customized dental therapies for patients suffering from sleep disorders.
Based on an in-depth pre-screening consultation and a sleep study that you do in the comfort of your own home, Dr. Enright will evaluate your results to determine whether you have a sleep disorder, and if so, its severity. Based on this information, she will offer recommendations on the right treatment options for your specific needs, such as a customized, discreet dental appliance that can provide relief from your symptoms. For sleep apnea, your personalized sleep appliance is designed to keep your tongue and jaw in an optimal position to prevent your airway from becoming obstructed while you sleep. Bruxism appliances help prevent many of the issues associated with grinding and clenching and can help save your teeth from severe damage.
If you think you may have a sleep disorder, we encourage you not to delay in calling Horizon Dental Group to receive a comprehensive evaluation. With the right treatment, you can start getting a good night’s rest and feeling like yourself again! We have two locations in Boise, ID for your convenience. To reach our Bench location, call 208-301-6293 , and our North End location can be reached at 208-816-7324 .Back to Sleep Analysis Page